USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Holds Change of Command
Captain Douglas Graber
SAN DIEGO – Capt. Douglas Graber relieved Capt. Craig Sicola as commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) during a change of command ceremony June 29.
Nimitz, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 11 (CSG-11), arrived to San Diego on June 28 following a seven month deployment to the U.S. 3rd and 7th Fleet areas of operations.
Sicola was raised near Dallas, Texas, and graduated from Texas A&M University in 1994. He was designated a Naval Aviator in 1997. Sicola took command of Nimitz on July 29, 2021 and led the ship through its maintenance phase, work-up cycle and certification, including Tailored Ships Training Availability (TSTA)/Final Evaluation Problem (FEP), Group Sail and Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX). He also led Nimitz through the entirety of deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Operations.
“I am truly grateful to each and every Nimitz Sailor for the honor to serve as your commanding officer,” said Sicola. “This tour has been the highlight of my career, and I am humbled by the incredible passion and dedication you all showed daily. Thank you to the Nimitz crew and your families for the sacrifices you continue to make in service to our country.”
Sicola made history by completing the 350,000th arrested aircraft landing on Nimitz while sailing in the South China Sea. Sicola, along with Cmdr. Luke Edwards, commanding officer of the “Fighting Redcocks” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22 piloted the arrested landing in a F/A-18F Super Hornet on April 22, 2023. Nimitz is the oldest-serving U.S commissioned aircraft carrier in the world and the first active U.S. Navy carrier in the Fleet to reach this milestone.
Sicola will report to Commander, Naval Air Forces staff.
Graber, a native of South Bound Brook, New Jersey, earned an Electrical Engineering degree from Drexel University in 1996. After commissioning from Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, he was designated a naval flight officer in March 1999.
“Thank you and congratulations to Captain Sicola for an outstanding tour,” said Graber. “As we look forward, we will ensure that we are ready and focused on maintaining the warfighting advantage needed to win. Our teamwork is tradition on Nimitz, and there is nothing we cannot accomplish together.”
An integral part of U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Indo-Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary to flawlessly execute our Navy’s role across the full spectrum of military operations—from combat operations to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. U.S. 3rd Fleet works together with our allies and partners to advance freedom of navigation, the rule of law, and other principles that underpin security for the Indo-Pacific region.
7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy‘s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.